High school students and parents of high school students know they have to plan for college. Planning for college is very close to deciding how the career of the student will begin. If one files through Google search results or speaks with guidance counselors, then weeks can go making the final plan for college without knowing what questions to ask or which direction to take. However, I always like to work top down on any planning activity so I have changed the approach a little.
Here is how to make a 3 minute plan for college:
- [40 seconds] Decide priorities
- What gives the student happiness? Money? Travel? Social acceptance?
- Does the student want to be close to or far from home? How often do they plan to come back?
- Do you plan to network heavily with fellow students and use that network after college?
- [15 seconds] Set a target for standardized tests
- What does the student think is possible on the SAT? ACT?
- [25 seconds] Write down a number that seems comfortable to pay for education
- Will the student get financial help from parents?
- Does the student plan to work on campus?
- Are there scholarships the student can try for?
- [5 seconds] Draw 3 boxes on a blank sheet of paper and label them, "Safety, Goal, and Reach," respectively
- [50 seconds] Write down every college that comes to mind into one of the boxes.
- This is not scientific. If one has heard of a college, then one also retains a feeling of how attainable the college is for that person. If uncertain, put the college in the 'reach category' and let it work its way into an easier category after talking to people.
- [20 seconds] Highlight upto three colleges in each box.
- One should choose colleges that one is more familiar with.
- [25 seconds] Reflect the highlighted colleges from step 6 against the priorities in step 1 and remove colleges that do not match priorities.
- If a category has no longer got any colleges left then it simply means that now the student has a goal to find more appropriate colleges in the next few days that fit that category.
3 minutes should let one arrive at a very rough list of colleges to apply to. Now hit Google and talk to the guidance counselor with this list in hand so the next few weeks of planning for college will run more targeted and more efficiently. That is how the 3 minute plan for college works!